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Davis' approach to autism

The Davis Autism Approach Program for People with Autism consists of 3 main stages.

First stage: individuation - the ability to perceive oneself as a person, separate from others.

When a baby is born, he is almost completely disoriented: he involuntarily moves his arms and legs, his vision is focused only by 3 months ... And the main goal by 2 years of age is to orient yourself at the physical body, to separate oneself from space and mom. Psychologists call this time the crisis of 2 years, the crisis "terrible twos". The child realizes that he is a separate person and wants to learn how to do everything himself.

And at this time, problems begin for people with autism. When orientation at the level of the physical body does not occur in a balanced and harmonious way. For example: non-verbal autistics do not receive enough information from the larynx and mouth to pronounce sounds and words. And high-functioning autistics do not understand their own (and others') emotions because there is no feedback from them. Conversely, autistic people receive too much information from certain areas of the body, then sensory overload occurs. For example, a reaction to strong smells or loud sounds, excessive sensitivity of the skin, which leads to meltdowns or autistic blackouts.

The Davis method offers a Auditory Orientation sound. This is a stereo sound that must be listened to with headphones and for quite a long time. Sound gradually opens up the possibility of being in a new state - the state of orientation. The Davis method is very gentle, it does not take anything, but only gives. Which means, all talents and all creativity remain with a person. Enables a new state where the body and the outside world are perceived as separate from the inner world, many people with autism describe this state as very calm and pleasant.

And ... then.. a person with autism finds himself in a psychological crisis of 2 years of age "Terrible Twos"! Despite the fact that the physiological age can be 20, and 40, and 60 years! But Davis does not leave person yet, so welcome to the second stage!

Second stage: personal development.

After a 2-year crisis, there are crises of 7 years, then 11 years, then a teenage crisis. And the stage of growing up ends with the full acceptance of responsibility. For example, from the age of 17 you can drive a car, from 18 you can get married, and from 21 to buy alcohol ... But if a person has not lived through the crisis of 2 years, then he cannot go through the rest of it. For example, if a person has not learned to speak, then he will not be able to sing and whisper. Therefore, the task of Davis is to lead a person along the path of development in a short way and help him gain life experience.

That's what Davis' 35 concepts are for.

- concepts of the physical world. This is a developmental stage from 2 to 7 years (based on the theory of child development by the French psychologist Jean Piaget). Children under 7 years old learn best through role-playing, they experience these concepts and learn to notice them in the world around them. These beautiful concepts are: I, change, consequences, cause and effect, before and after, time, sequence (5 types), order and disorder.

- concepts of the cognitive world (the world of thought). This is the developmental stage from 7 to 11 years. Here it becomes possible to analyze and classify information through the work of the brain. How our brain reacts to the world around us, how we remember information, what thoughts are - all this is studied and explored through the following concepts: continue, survive, perception, thought, experience, understanding, knowledge, wisdom.

- concepts of the world of instincts (the world of feelings, the world of emotions). This is what shapes the world of our emotions. It's all our like - don't like, want - don't want ... Psychologists call this period a teenage crisis. The task of a teenager is to find himself. How to find yourself? Understand your own preferences, emotions, instincts. And here the following concepts come to the help: urge, energy, force, emotion, want, need, intention.

We model all these concepts from plasticine as 3-dimensional shapes, and then we begin to explore it in the world around us. Exploring concepts in the world around you is a VERY important part of the program! On the program, we plant the seedlings of life experience through certain concepts, but the duty of the person is INDEPENDENTLY develop and grow huge plants of life experience to equalize the psychological and physiological age.

Followed by concepts that combine the work of all 3 worlds: the physical body, the world of thought and the world of emotions. These are motivation, ability and control. And harmonizing all of the above is the concept of responsibility.

This is followed by a series of exercises to practice taking responsibility and putting things in order in ANY situation.

Then we take a break to allow the person with autism to observe themselves and gain the necessary life experiences. And only then do we move on to the next stage.

Third stage: social integration.

The last 14 concepts allow person with autism understands different types of social relations and such concepts as good / bad, right / wrong. This is where the program ends and independent building up of life experience begins.

We can also meet for a few after - program meetings to discuss issues that have arisen. About what results to expect from the program, I will write next time.

© Copyright 2023

Elena Nikulina, licensed DDAI (Davis Dyslexia Association International) facilitator in the correction of dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia, Attention Deficit Disorder with or without Hypo / Hyperactivity, and other problems in learning according to the author's method of Ronald Davis, Davis Autism and Concepts for life facilitator RDAF (Ronald Davis Autism Foundation) to help people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, director of Dyslexia Correction and Support Centre, London, UK.

For more information on how to correct dyslexia, AD(H)D, and other learning problems, see Ronald Davis' The Gift of Dyslexia, The Gift of Learning, and Autism and the Seeds of Change: Achieving Full Participation in Life through Davis approach to autism. — Abigail Marshall (author), Ronald Dell Davis (author).​

Link to RDAF website and full description of programs:

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